Gerri Corcoran says Colin MacPhee has become like a son to her.
But even before Rustico, PEI’s wife met the young man from Ontario, there was something connecting them – two years ago MacPhee donated his stem cells to Corcoran to help him fight leukemia.
Donations are generally anonymous, unless the donor and recipient wish to meet. Corcoran said she learned her donor was interested in meeting her months after the fact.
“They gave me the contact for the donor, who came to find out he’s a young man from Ottawa, Ont. It was so exciting,” said Corcoran.
“We ended up doing FaceTime and then when the borders opened … in August of this year, [we were] able to make a quick trip to meet them in Ottawa.
“I don’t think she gave me a choice,” MacPhee said.
“She said ‘I’m coming to meet you and I can’t wait to give you one of our hugs in Prince Edward Island.’ I couldn’t refuse that. “
The two and their respective families met in Prince Edward Island this Thanksgiving, which was also the second anniversary of the transplant.
MacPhee said he didn’t expect something like this to happen when he signed up to become a donor.
“I got on the list because I just wanted to impress a girl from my college. It worked,” he said.
“Four years later, I got the call, which I completely forgot. Canadian Blood Services told me that I was compatible and that someone was in need and that you are the only person who can help, so I was more than willing to help. “
“Once they explained the whole procedure to me and how easy it was, how could I not? “
‘Emotional roller coaster’
MacPhee said he can relate to Corcoran’s battle with cancer because his mother, Nancy, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma around the same time he decided to become a donor.
“It was a pretty emotional roller coaster in our house, Colin donating his stem cells and I might need them in the future as well,” Nancy said.
She underwent six months of chemotherapy and is currently undergoing treatment to ward off the cancer.
Nancy said her son’s special bond with Corcoran was “quite special”.
“Now I have to share it,” she said.
“[Corcoran] feels like a member of the family, “said Colin MacPhee.” She’s amazing and I couldn’t think of anyone who deserves this more. “
Corcoran said MacPhee was “an incredible young man”. She said she hopes their story inspires more people to donate stem cells.
“If we can save a life by donating or donating stem cells from a young person, that would be amazing,” she said.
“If we can get the word out about donating, that’s what Colin and I would really love.”